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Palestinian Leader Firm on Conditions for Israeli Peace Talks


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is standing firm in his demand that peace talks with Israel can not resume until the Jewish state fully stops building settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Mr. Abbas said Monday he has no objections to negotiating with the Israelis, but that settlement construction can not continue. He also suggested Israel should recognize the terms of peace talks agreed upon in the past.

After meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh, Mr. Abbas said Cairo agrees with the Palestinian stance. Egyptian officials have not commented on the meeting.

Egypt is trying to revive the talks Mr. Abbas suspended last year in response to Israel's offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

In Israel Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government is ready to resume negotiations immediately without preconditions.

Israel is temporarily limiting its construction of Jewish communities in the West Bank, but the Palestinians say that is not enough.

Top Egyptian officials will travel to Washington this week to discuss the peace process.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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